The province of Nova Scotia introduced a name change bill that has a provision in it that is drawing criticism from not only transgender people but victims of stalkers.
The proposed bill would require that anyone requesting a legal name change except people getting them via marriage or children submit fingerprints for a mandatory criminal background check.
British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba have legislation on their legal books similar to the one that Nova Scotia is trying to pass, while provinces such as Ontario allow name changes without mandatory fingerprinting.
Nova Scotia’s Justice Minister Ross Landry said the Identification of Criminals Act is intended to help police track people with criminal records who want to change their names to hide their past. He claimed that once the criminal checks are completed and name change applicants cleared, police will be required to destroy the fingerprints. .
During a recent committee hearing for the bill MLA’s got an earful from transgender people and their advocates opposing the bill. They felt it was a violation of their rights and would stigmatize them just for getting a name chane that is a crucial part of us moving on and living lives in our correct gender.
A name change is one way of alleviating the anxiety and stress of being “regularly outed as trans,” local activist Kaley Kennedy told the committee.
For many people who can’t afford to undergo a sex-change operation or treatments, a legal name change is one of the only “affordable options available for them,” Kennedy said.
And we shouldn’t have to go through the dehumanizing stigma of being fingerprinted just to have our names match our gender presentation either.